Prepare Before You Apply For SSDI

If you are unable to work because of a medical or mental health condition, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. This government program takes the funds that workers have paid throughout the years and returns them in the form of monthly deposits to their bank accounts. Not everyone that applies is approved and the entire process can be complex and lengthy. To increase your chances of success, follow the tips below, and be prepared to apply for SSDI.

Apply Soon – It can take months after applying before you hear anything from the Social Security Administration (SSA) so the sooner you apply the better. As soon as you stop working, apply. You can fill out the application online, by mail, or at a local Social Security office.

Gather Needed Documents – Rather than stop working on the application to find paperwork, gather needed papers and information before you start. You will need contact information and Social Security numbers of people in your household, information about your most recent job, and as much medical information about your condition that you can find. Additionally, if you were in the military, locate a copy of your DD214.

Check Work Credits – The SSA uses work credits to determine whether or not you have worked enough in the last few years and made enough money to qualify for benefits. Although the SSA will determine your work credits for you, be sure to carefully check your records before you apply for benefits. You can look at your previous work history and income by accessing your SSA account at the My Social Security web site. For example, if you think your income was higher than what is listed for the year 2015, you can alert the SSA to the problem and make corrections. It's vital that the record be correct if you are to get the benefits you need.

Understand the One Year Rule – There is no point in applying for SSDI benefits if your medical or mental condition is not severe enough. Some ailments improve and go away in time but that is not the type of aliment the SSA is looking for. You must show that your condition:

  • Has affected you for at least a year or
  • Will affect you for at least a year or
  • Any combination of the two.

Prove Your Condition – Finally, you must be ready to explain your condition and meet the guidelines listed in the SSA blue book. The so-called blue book is a listing of all conditions along with details. For example, if you are claiming congestive heart failure, you might need to show what you have done to deal with it and that certain diagnostic tests have been performed.

Did you know that Social Security lawyers can help you fill out your application? Speak to a lawyer about your case today. If you have already been turned down, don't despair. You can get help with your appeal from someone that has experience with Social Security law.